Published: July 20, 2020

In the months since the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries’ physical locations closed in mid-March for the health and safety of the campus community, library personnel have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of educators, researchers and students with online services and resources. 

Norlin Library exterior

(Photo/Ken Abbott)

The Scholarly Resource Development team moved quickly to activate access to HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service, unlocking digital surrogates for 48 percent of books in our print collection. The department has negotiated trials or expanded access to nearly 100 databases and online resources, providing the community with access to University Press eBooks (EBSCO) and more. 

Our campus community also gained access to thousands of new videos through streaming services like Swank. Metadata services personnel have processed rush requests from faculty and researchers for streaming video titles on Kaltura’s MediaSpace. The libraries have also continued to expand access to subscription news sites.

Libraries Circulation acted quickly to extend due dates for library materials, waiving fines and billing charges. Dedicated essential services personnel have processed the accumulation of books returned to book drops, while others implemented procedures for moving course reserves entirely online for the 2020 summer and fall semesters. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) personnel have provided essential e-content to university affiliates but also partner libraries. 

The Center for Research Data & Digital Scholarship (CRDDS) successfully moved the majority of their classes, workshops, consult hours and events online, serving hundreds of students and researchers working and learning remotely. Also, over 200 honors theses from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Media, Communication and Information were added to the university’s institutional repository, CU Scholar.

Libraries faculty and staff expanded to 60 staffed hours per-week the online Ask A Librarian chat service to accommodate a new influx of requests. Subject specialist librarians and teaching librarians continued to offer student and faculty consultations virtually upon request, assembled additional online resource guides and moved seminars and workshops online. 

Members of the Teaching and Learning Unit along with the Literature and Humanities Librarian coordinated the "Exquisite Hope: One Poem, Many Voices" project, a poem of hope and encouragement. This poem was written collaboratively by over 75 community members and was performed by nine library personnel.

Special Collections and Archives have fielded reference emails and phone calls from researchers, connecting them with online sources accessible through our CU Digital Library. In mid-March, Special Collections and Archives also launched “Documenting Community, 2020,” an initiative aimed at collecting the unique stories and experiences of our community as we collectively grapple with massive societal changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we transition through summer and into fall, our deeply invested libraries personnel will continue to offer exceptional support to the university community both online and in-person. Contactless pickup begins later this month and the libraries’ Coronavirus and Libraries Services page will announce additional developments as the university and libraries travel the Road Map to Fall 2020

We appreciate how highly the CU Boulder community values libraries personnel, facilities, and our rich and unique collections and we are committed to providing exceptional service and access.